Gregory says Tech and basketball will come out stronger

Georgia Tech men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory said the NCAA’s decision to place minor limits on recruiting is simply another challenge that must be passed, joining no arena for the 2011-12 season and the loss of two key players.

“When you’re trying to build back the program, with a new culture and adding to that culture by bringing in the right type of player … it’s impaired a little bit,” he said. “We’re going to have work double-time. Fit 48 hours into a 24-hour day.”

The NCAA announced Thursday the following penalties on Thursday related to violations that occurred during predecessor Paul Hewitt’s time as coach:

  • A reduction of two men’s basketball recruiting days during the 2011 summer evaluation period (self-imposed by the university).
  • A limit of 10 official visits for men’s basketball for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years.
  • Four years of probation (for the entire department).

Gregory, who was hired away from Dayton earlier this year, was told about the investigation during the interview process. Reached in Milwaukee while watching a tournament, Gregory said he has no ill feelings toward Hewitt, and described the penalties as being characteristic of minor violations. He said he hasn’t spent a lot of time trying to figure out if the penalties fit the violations, saying doing so would be a waste of time. Though he was mostly a by-stander, he said he was impressed by how Tech handled itself and its plan moving forward. Tech hired two new compliance officers and added a third within the past two months. The department previously had two employees, neither of whom are still at Tech. Paul Parker, the former head of compliance, now works at Auburn. Katreshia Louis, an associate, left to join North Carolina A&T.

“We will come out of this stronger where no one can question Tech’s integrity,” he said.

Hewitt, who was fired by Tech and then hired at George Mason, said he’s disappointed in the NCAA’s decision to punish his former basketball team and that Gregory has to deal with the penalties.

“I feel bad that Brian has to do this,” Hewitt said. “I feel bad that they are doing this with the Georgia Tech basketball program. It’s very unfair.”

It could be argued that these penalties are actually more severe from a competition standpoint than those given to the football team. Other than the probation and the loss of face with the stripping of the ACC title, coach Paul Johnson noted his team can move forward with a clean slate.

Gregory already faced the prospect of trying to rebuild the basketball team that unexpectedly lost several starters (Iman Shumpert, Brian Oliver), but also won’t have a home court in 2011-12 while the new arena is built.

The NCAA’s inquiry into the basketball team started separately from its look at football. They were rolled into one large investigation.

There are two issues which the NCAA alerted Tech to in a letter on  Dec. 21, 2010 (details were accumulated from a variety of reports):

  • Donovan Williams, a former graduate assistant, was at a camp, the Wallace Prather Jr. Memorial Classic, at Tech’s recreation center in 2009 and ‘10. The tournament has been held at Tech annually since 2000. However, the NCAA changed a bylaw in 2009 that made it an automatic violation for staff members to run or be involved in non-scholastic camps such as the Prather. Williams was there in 2009 as a gym coordinator, which he didn’t know was a violation of NCAA rules. In 2010 his role changed. Because there were instances in the past of fights, a water main break, and games running late, Williams was sent to the camp by Hewitt to make sure things ran well. Someone else was the gym coordinator.  Williams said he had since been informed that graduate assistants weren’t supposed to attend events like the Prather’s because they were considered to be on staff. However, Williams finished his classes the week before the event. He and Willie Reese, Tech’s director of basketball operations, thought he was no longer a g.a. and therefore no longer on staff. While there, members of the NCAA said they observed Williams taking notes about players and making 28 phone calls to Tech assistant coaches to discuss which teams were winning. Tech has since decided that the Prather tournament can’t be held on campus.
  • An academic advisor, former Tech player Jon Babul, scouted some of the players for between four-five hours on a Saturday in 2010, took notes, and sent an unsolicited e-mail to the coaching staff with his thoughts about five players, none of whom were recruited by Tech. According to NCAA rules, Babul could attend the camp but he can’t send player analysis to coaches.

“We feel like we were operating within the NCAA rules,” Hewitt said. “This is a difference of opinion.”

There were also minor issues of coaches leaving too many tickets for players including the Hawks Josh Smith and former Tech greats Matt Harpring and James Forrest, and a player, Shumpert, being given too many tickets to a sporting event at Tech.  Tech gave each player four on two separate occasions. Because Harpring and Forrest also coach, the NCAA says they can only receive two complimentary tickets per game. In its March 17 response, Tech argues it didn’t know that Harpring and Forrest were involved in youth camps that overrode the fact that they are alumni. Shumpert was required to donate $40 to a charity of his choice, which was the value of the tickets. None of those players have been disassociated from the program as a result of receiving the tickets, according to Radakovich.

Interesting, Tech offered to take the following punitive actions, some of which the NCAA rejected:

  • Will suspend Coach Hewitt for the first contest of the 2011-12 men’s basketball season.
  • Will reduce the number of “recruiting-person” days by two during the summer evaluation period in 2011.
  • Will issue a letter of reprimand to Head Men’s Basketball Coach Paul Hewitt, Academic Advisor John Babul, and director of basketball operations Willie Reese for their involvement.
  • Will suspend Babul for one day without pay for his actions.
    Will issue letters of reprimand to Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Darryl LaBarrie, Reese, and Coach Hewitt for their involvement in the second allegation.
  • Will require Coach Hewitt, Coach LaBarrie, and Willie Reese to attend the 2011 NCAA Regional Rules Seminar or similar educational session. Confirmation of attendance and participation in sessions will be required.
  • Will prohibit the provision of complimentary tickets to all high school coaches and individuals associated with prospective study.

Athletic director Dan Radakovich said on Thursday that these violations will not affect the $7 million owed to Hewitt as part of his contractual buyout. Radakovich fired Hewitt earlier this year. What’s interesting is that in  the Public Infractions Report, the NCAA says it believed the infractions to be major, while Tech thought they were minor. That’s an important distinction because a major violation would have triggered a clause in Hewitt’s contract that may have vacated the buyout.

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Follow coverage on twitter @ajcgatech.

95 comments Add your comment

carolinajacket

July 15th, 2011
9:09 am

Just hope this doesn’t hurt our recruiting.

T-Bone

July 15th, 2011
9:15 am

picking at nits

SiddyBoy

July 15th, 2011
9:20 am

I guess Radakovich isn’t as smart as all of Yech’s student athletes.Do the crime do the time !! unless your brilliant athletes can cover it up;AD didn’t !!

lucky21

July 15th, 2011
9:25 am

this is a letter from sean bedford i found at from the rumble seat interesting read

“Dear NCAA,

Thank you for handing down penalties that only adversely affect the players who did things the right way. This reeks of an organization desperate to prove that it has some sort of control over its member institutions despite lacking the ability and firepower to police the serious offenders and protect the student-athletes whose interests you purport to have at heart. While I realize that all violations merit some kind of punishment, I have a hard time grasping the notion that one of the proudest moments in my life (and the lives of every other individual that was a part of the team and program in 2009) is apparently worth $312 in your eyes. If that truly is the case, I’d be happy to provide you with that same amount of money (cash or check, your choice) in exchange for the reinstatement of the title my teammates and I earned through our blood, sweat, and tears. It took months of hard work, dedication, and personal sacrifice by a team of over 100 players, 10 coaches, and countless staff members to achieve that championship, but, evidently, it only takes the handful of pencil pushers, lawyers, and professors on your infractions committee to strip us of it. I was a part of the 2009 ACC Championship team and, while you can pretend retroactively that it didn’t happen, I have vivid memories of an incredible season that was, and continues to be, one of the most fun, meaningful, important, and very real times in my 23 years on this planet. I’ll be wearing my championship ring with pride and if you want that too, you’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead finger.

Sincerely,

Sean Bedford”

GT BBall

July 15th, 2011
9:35 am

Sean Bedford for AD!

RED DAWG

July 15th, 2011
9:55 am

You all cheat too much. You are about as believable as Casey Anthony.

HSV Jacket

July 15th, 2011
10:12 am

If the NCAA considers the BB violations major, we need to recoup Hewitt’s buyout.

juvenal

July 15th, 2011
10:12 am

red dauug, at least we won’t put up any statues to them……nzaa about as competent as casey’s da…drad definitely not looking too bright, would not give hewitt a penny(no symbol for this on modern key board), make him sue, get better solons this time…what law school did this corbin guy go to, anyway?

GT65

July 15th, 2011
10:16 am

Lucky21, Thanks for the letter. Bedford is right on.

RED DAWG..the jury believed Casey so whats your point. No-one is perfect..

dawgmatic

July 15th, 2011
10:18 am

Can’t spell CHEAT without TECH, right, nerds?

Jimmy Crack

July 15th, 2011
10:19 am

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I won $400 betting GT would win the ACC title. They can’t take that away from me either.

It’s always the coverup, even with nerds.

GT Alum

July 15th, 2011
10:23 am

Enter your comments here

juvenal

July 15th, 2011
10:27 am

cheat=intent, different from stUpid(can’t spell stUpid without.U….)

ChattJacket

July 15th, 2011
10:29 am

Doug, do you know how or why the NCAA punished the program for the 2009 tournament? Reading their report, it appears that the change in the bylaw was not effective until October 2009. Since the tournament occurred in May 2009, how were they in the wrong?

GT Alum

July 15th, 2011
10:34 am

If the NCAA considers the basketball infractions major, then Tech shiuld definitely try to recoup Hewitt’s buyout. It’s the only positive thing that is likely to come out of this.

Also, I know there’s a lot of NCAA rules, but isn’t it part of the athletics department’s responsibilities to make sure they know and understand those regulations? Either this misunderstanding the rules defense is a cop out, or some people in the AA are doing a woeful job of understanding the NCAA rules.

GT Girl

July 15th, 2011
10:36 am

Love Sean Bedford’s letter!
Blewitt Hewitt should NOT be paid any longer by GT for his ‘crime’ in all this.

if drad continues to pay

July 15th, 2011
10:43 am

phewitt his buy out than he should be canned.

afterall the money we are using to pay phewitt is not drads’ but belongs to the fans. i would bet a bottom dollar that if the fans were polled on this issue, a vast majority would not want phew to get a single dime more.

he took almost 25 million for doing basically nothing over 10 years. i think that is enough payment.

wrong position

July 15th, 2011
10:47 am

Ken,

Your colleage Jeff Schultz is a complete moron and has OBVIOUS bias! You however, have done a great job reporting! To say we deserve to lose our title because the NCAA didn’t find anything and is POed that their witch hunt proved nothing is absurd. We got punished for something that they can’t prove happened, because it likely didn’t happen. A slap on the wrist for “telling the coach” about it would be appropriate, this however, insinuates we did something awful and intentional. What is going to happen to UNC and OSU? The ACC commissioner should come out slamming this because his precious Tar Heels are about to receive the gaunlet!

lucky21

July 15th, 2011
10:47 am

I like how the bedford letter i posted became a story on the site. I think the folks at the ajc need to be mre on top of things if they cant find news like that letter beforen your average fan

TDone

July 15th, 2011
11:17 am

Hey Muttland Fans, your time is coming soon.

juvenal

July 15th, 2011
11:18 am

alum, maybe nzaa rules too erratic to deal with logically-look how long, & secretively, this all dragged out, & what happened in the meantime…….

GoJackets

July 15th, 2011
11:27 am

dawgmatic – I’m surprised U[sic]GA fans can spell at all, so I guess I have to give you a little bit of credit.

growing older, but not up

July 15th, 2011
11:30 am

The report says Tech “appeared” to manipulate. . . . and it’s a “cautionary tale” for the other member institutions? The NCAA can say what they want, but they are using Tech as an example in hopes that Ohio State, UNC, Auburn, etc. get the message

nola dawg

July 15th, 2011
11:38 am

Tech fans… as UGA alum (and i know most of you think all UGA fans DIDN’T go to the school), I have to say this NCAA deal is a JOKE. For $300?! Sorry yall are dealing with it.

To Dawg fans, don’t take to much joy, b/c what comes around goes around (or at least did last year with AJ… what a kid can’t sell his own jersey to pay for spring break).;

Bottom line in both cases – NCAA rules committee = JOKE

Cut from the same cloth

July 15th, 2011
11:38 am

The Joker ( Obama ) and GT sports and the disgusting City of Atlanta public schools. All cut from the same cloth. Liars and cheaters. Over rated and soon to be replaced.

juvenal

July 15th, 2011
11:41 am

then why not expedite & publicize it quickly, as all that happened AFTER this incident?as for folks who can’t distinguish between arrogant incompetence and cheating on purpose, i doubt they would care less if their teams did either, as long as they didn’t get caught(any of you ever get a ticket for doing 75 in a 55, when you were just dodging people going faster?)

GT BBall

July 15th, 2011
11:43 am

City of ATL public schools was run by UGA alumni – and they did cheat!

bigdawg88

July 15th, 2011
11:49 am

You guys applauding Sean Bedford ought to really be wondering why Tech would even try to cover up a $312 violation. Why not just report it, hold the kid out for a few games, and go on about your business? Sounds like there is a lot more than $312 in there somewhere. Why would you intentionally tell someone about an investigation they told you not to tell? Now you have to pay $100K for it. Radovich (sp?) ought to be fired just for being stupid.

dawgmatic

July 15th, 2011
11:50 am

Don’t act so butt-hurt, nerds. You should be used to getting spanked, and if the NCAA keeps digging, 9-1 could turn into 10-0. You nerds are always good for a laugh, and your joke of a program just keeps getting funnier every year!

bigdawg88

July 15th, 2011
11:51 am

AJC,
He said he knew that graduate assistants were supposed to attend events like the Prather’s.

Shouldn’t that be, “graduate assistants were not supposed to attend”?

Fire the fact checker! heh

Bobito the Payaso

July 15th, 2011
11:51 am

I was a professor at Tech 5 years ago, and had half the athletic department in one of my classes, including b-ball players. I was offered tickets to change a fail to a pass (for a female player), and generally found the fellow assigned to control the b-ball players to go way out of bounds in lots of ways. I complained. Nothing happened.

snoop

July 15th, 2011
11:51 am

nola dawg, you are right! the ncaa is a joke if this is all they have to do or say!!

Bobito the Payaso

July 15th, 2011
11:52 am

Folks, Tech covers up the stupid stuff, and the NCAA comes down hard on the stupid stuff, because both know more serious stuff is going on, but the NCAA can’t prove it.

puppydawg

July 15th, 2011
11:53 am

lucky21

July 15th, 2011
10:47 am

“I like how the bedford letter i posted became a story on the site. I think the folks at the ajc need to be mre on top of things if they cant find news like that letter beforen your average fan”

Where’s the “news” here? Bedford’s letter is simply more of the typical whining, crying and denying that we have been hearing from the nerd herd. All of you need to grow a set and take your punishment like a man (sic).

bigdawg88

July 15th, 2011
11:54 am

GT BBALL, Use google next time… thought you nerds knew something about computers.
http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/18611010892250280/lib/18611010892250280/Superintendent_Hall_bio_052110.pdf

SHE’S NOT A DAWG!!!

@Tbone

July 15th, 2011
11:54 am

GaTech wasn’t anywhere close to the NIT this year…

DawgInaTruck

July 15th, 2011
11:56 am

The thing that still confuses me is Tech being punished for allowing the players to play during the investigation. The NCAA supposedly deals in facts and facts alone; the fact of the matter is that the NCAA never declared the players ineligible nor offered any suggestions or advice for them to sit.

When you consider the NCAA was directly involved in allowing the Ohio State players to play in this year’s Sugar Bowl WHILE THAT INVESTIGATION proceeded, their hypocrisy is appalling.

bigdawg88

July 15th, 2011
11:59 am

@Bobito the Payaso,
They only offered you tickets?!? I guess that does come with four cokes and four dogs, but still….
They could have at least offered the girl to you! That’s just cheap! Y’all need to stop cheatin’, you’re not very good at it.

bigdawg88

July 15th, 2011
12:03 pm

@Dawginatruck,
The NCAA allowed it in OSU’s case, but they warned Tech that there were possible violations. Just like with the other schools this year, it’s up to the school to decide if they want to take the chance on playing a kid and voiding the games or not. Tech gambled the wrong way – AND LOST! Should have held the kid out.
And you see what happened to OSU’s Sugar bowl “win”. VOID! Still o-fer against the SEC!

DIT

July 15th, 2011
12:06 pm

I’m sorry. Even I’m an Alumnus of UGA I still think that tech is getting the shaft here. Yes, there were some violations that accured, I think we can all agree on that, but the punishment does not meet the crime. I think that the NCAA is just on a witch hunt being that they were made to look so bad with Ohio St. & So. Cal.
I feel for tech, this stinks!

puppydawg

July 15th, 2011
12:08 pm

Do GT football players get to have rings made to commemorate probation and the vacation of championships?

RJ Voorhees

July 15th, 2011
12:08 pm

This can only help UGA with recruiting! GO DAWGS! Tech is laughable

Shinhoster

July 15th, 2011
12:14 pm

Let’s just all regress a little….

Atlien

July 15th, 2011
12:15 pm

I’m guessing this has more to do with the legal representation being mean to the investigators than any violation. Telling a coach that players are under investigation is not against the rules.

It’s hard to take the NCAA seriously when they state that GT is not being made an example, but in the first paragraph of the report it says “This should serve as a cautionary tale for schools under investigation.”

GT Alum

July 15th, 2011
12:18 pm

Bobito the Payaso -

If what you say is true, you should alert Tech alumni, who would certainly be interested in this.

However, what you say smacks of being full of crap. I doubt they would offer you tickets, as this is hardly an incentive for most professors, many of whom intentionally schedule tests the day after a Thursday night football game.

Also, according to the Georgia Tech athletics site, the only events that faculty/staff don’t get free admission to are football and men’s basketball games, and they’re given discounts on season tickets to these games. Considering full price season tickets start at $350, unless they were offering premium seats, this would hardly seem like a worthwhile bribe.

puppydawg

July 15th, 2011
12:23 pm

@ GT Alum – While I do not agree with you that Bobito the Payaso’s comments should be dismissed, I do acknowledge that you make a valid point. It’s not like tickets to GT football games are hard to come by.

your daddy

July 15th, 2011
12:28 pm

The smartest people on the planet couldn’t interpret the rules and couldn’t run a cover up. Whodda thunk it? My how the self righteous have fallen!

urmissingthepoint

July 15th, 2011
12:30 pm

Tech is not being punished for $312 worth of stuff. They are being punished for, in the view of the NCAA, not cooperating with the investigation and letting a player who had been marked as potentially ineligible play after that statement had been communicated. Tech didn’t bench the player and told him what was going on, both of which is defiance in the eyes of the NCAA. Cheating is one thing, but cheating and then giving the NCAA the finger… that will get you clobbered most of the time.

Judge Dawg

July 15th, 2011
12:34 pm

There are bigger fish out there than this and one stinks. Where was the AJC with rumors of a scandal and something coming down which will scare off recruits stories which we have come to expect out of Athens?

GT Alum

July 15th, 2011
12:42 pm

puppydawg -

Quite frankly, since anyone can post on here as anyone and say pretty much anything they want, I don’t put too much faith into anything any of the commenters on here says without proof to back it up. Especially since there’s plenty of your fellow dawg fans who would post something exactly like that.

While I was at Tech, I was in classes with athletes, as were several of my friends. These were generally elective classes, and they did seem to be easier than classes that didn’t have several athletes in them, but no one I know was aware of any blatant cheating. However, I know that doesn’t mean the kind of incidents Bobito described didn’t happen.

I honestly didn’t think I said they should be dismissed. I thought I encouraged him to communicate this information to the alumni association, who could push for an investigation. I would also encourage him to encourage any of his former colleagues who have similar experiences to come forward. While it may be easy to dismiss one claim from a former professor (who I assume has no proof of these charges), if multiple claims came from former and current faculty, it would have to be investigated.